Did you know it takes 44 pages of this fascinating book to display one million tiny dots? Clements will hook even the most math-averse with mind-boggling facts like "Tie 578,504 shoelaces together, and they would reach from New York to Boston." Oversize images on a dotted background make the concepts all the more graspable. (ages 4 to 8)
The August 2006 issue of Child magazine
Clements (Room One, reviewed below) sets out, with mixed results, to explain the concept of one million through a roundup of number factoids and an accumulation of tiny dots. After viewing the opening page-which presents a single period-size dot-readers see roundups of 10; 100; 500 and then 1,000 dots. On subsequent pages, Reed's vividly hued digital artwork, imposed against peg-board like backgrounds of minuscule dots, demonstrates bits of number trivia. Beginning with "The wings of a mosquito beat 600 times each second," the data progresses-quite arbitrarily-to increasingly larger numbers: from 600 to 1,860 (the number of steps to the top of the Empire State Building) then on to 24,901 (the number of miles around the Earth at the equator). In each illustration, a single dot is circled, presumably representing the number that corresponds with these highlighted facts. At the bottom right of each spread, a running total appears (e.g., "142,911 dots so far"). Readers may find some of the numerical facts Clements reveals intriguing, while some other facts may seem silly or vague (e.g., for the number 464,000: "It would take 464,000 school-lunch cartons of chocolate milk to fill a 20-by-40-foot swimming pool"). Reed's illustrations are similarly uneven, presenting images that range from bland (a tooth-brushing scene) to humorous (a herd of dogs chasing a postman for "More than 765,174 men and women work for the U.S. Postal Service"). Though, in theory, the volume demonstrates the impressive size of one million, kids may well be more confused than enlightened by the presentation here. Ages 4-8. (July) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Clements starts us off slowly with a single dot, the size of a pin prick, and by the end of the book readers will have seen one million of them. Each page highlights one dot number and provides a corresponding fact, i.e. Dot number 364,800346,800 cans of soup would fill more than 950 grocery carts. Instead of counting each dot to find the one in question, the reader can squint and search for the gold circle surrounding it. The layer of dots covering Mike Reed's delightful illustrations gives them a kind of cross-stitch appearance. His interpretation of these sometimes absurd facts makes them less abstract. A well-planned book that takes on a challenging task, Clements only fails by choosing a few oddballs. Teachers, however, could easily use the book to show students what the number ‘one million' looks like. Best for collections with hefty budgets, as it contains information only some young mathematicians will appreciate. 2006, Simon & Schuster Books for Your Readers, Ages 8 to 12.
Kristy Lyn Sutorius
Gr 1-4-Enormous numbers are often difficult for children to conceptualize, but Clements makes the process enjoyable. The book begins and ends with a single dot. In between, readers not only view the other 999,998, but also pick up some fascinating tidbits of information. Each page features an array of dots arranged in a rectangular shape with an illustration superimposed on top, all set against a warm-hued background. One or two boxed facts help readers visualize particular amounts, and the spreads have arrows pointing out how many dots have been presented so far. The examples bring the concept home while reflecting kids' interests: "There are 525,600 minutes from one birthday to the next one" or "To eat 675,000 Hershey's bars, you would have to eat one bar every two minutes, nonstop, for more than 234 days!" Reed's humorous and eye-catching digital artwork adds to the appeal. The phrase "It's 238,857 miles from the Earth to the moon" is illustrated with a cow in space gear making its famous jump, while the fact that an arctic tern will fly more than 650,000 miles in its lifetime shows a camera-toting bird complete with Panama hat, suitcases, and passport clutched in wing. Pair this imaginative title with David M. Schwartz's classic How Much Is a Million? (HarperCollins, 1985) for a tremendous math lesson.-Grace Oliff, Ann Blanche Smith School, Hillsdale, NJ Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Here's a picture book that challenges the ease with which so many of us invoke "millions," as one million tiny dots range across some 19 successive double-page spreads. Fanciful illustrations superimposed over the arrays depict the various milestones along the count-up to a million. A cow in a space helmet jumps happily over the moon, while a tiny highlight indicates the 238,857th dot, representing the distance in miles from the Earth to the moon; a chubby tern appears next to his luggage, its tiny highlighted dot indicating that, "[a]n Arctic tern will fly more than 650,000 miles during its lifetime." Clements has done an admirable job selecting kid-friendly facts to aid in the count-up, effectively mixing the serious and the goofy. The concept begs comparison to David M. Schwartz's How Much Is a Million? (1985), and while this offering does its predecessor one better by delivering all one million goods, it lacks some of the earlier book's sparkle. Its clarity of design and variety of facts presented, however, make it a solid browsing book and an entertaining alternative for fact- and number-obsessed kids. (Picture book/nonfiction. 6-12)